KVM! Do I even need VMware Anymore?

April 26th, 2016

Chris Minnis
Enterprise Architect

First, let me say that I have been a VMware believer, evangelist and supporter since 2001. I still remember the first time I understood what the then singular product of ESX Server would do for my IBM x440. The virtualization and consolidation era began literally overnight, as the small company I worked for virtualized all ten of our Windows servers and consolidated them onto one VMware ESX Server. I joined Mainline in 2003, and we have led hundreds of customers along the same path. Many of those customers had thousands of servers to work with.

As VMware became a standard, features were added and prices rose. Those same businesses took KVM (kernel virtual machine) into their labs, because it was free. They ran test and development workloads, and were quite satisfied with the results, but the question changed. If a business wants to move KVM into production, then the standard has become VMware’s vCenter. As vCenter is the manager of the entire VMware infrastructure, are there enough options out there to make the leap to a KVM manager, to migrate from VMware and vCenter?

KVM options and the Acropolis platform

KVM itself now provides a web site that keeps track of management options: http://www.linux-kvm.org/page/Management_Tools . There are commercial options from Red Hat, Mist.io, and SolusVM, as well as free options from various others. Many of these are quite reputable and have been around for years. While these aren’t clones of vCenter, you can definitely defend evaluating many of them as production options. The three commercial options I mention have excellent reputations, and their lists of features have become extensive.

But, of course, I’ve saved one for last that will require a little exploration. The last one I will mention is Acropolis from Nutanix. Launched in June of 2015, Acropolis is a fully featured, hyper-converged infrastructure based on KVM, and it includes virtualization of storage, as well as servers. The platform is focused on high availability, easy migration of virtual machines and optimizing performance of not only the individual virtual machine, but the entire virtual environment. Add a feature like Cloud Connect, which allows backup and replication to Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, and I think we have another defendable option, perhaps one that we would be foolish not to evaluate.

Back to the original question… Do I even need VMware anymore? Ultimately, you’re going to have to answer that for yourself. But, I truly believe you have options today that you should evaluate. That evaluation is going to take some time and effort, and Mainline is always here to assist. Think back ten to fifteen years ago, when you first took a chance on virtualization and consolidation. Change is constant, and is faster than ever.

Feel free to contact me, or your Mainline Account Executive directly with any questions.  You can also go to www.mainline.com or call Mainline at 866-490-MAIN(6246).

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